This week the Senate Education Committee met to hear presentations on the implementation of SB 7026, legislation passed in 2018 in response to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The committee is chaired by Sen. Manny Diaz, whom you remember is the former PreK-12 Education Appropriations Subcommittee chair and a staunch defender of charter schools and vouchers.
Suwannee and Polk County superintendents made presentations on their implementations of the controversial Guardian Program, which trains volunteers in protecting a school in the event of an armed shooter. The Department of Education reports that 25 sheriffs have agreed to train guardians. Suwannee and Polk superintendents talked about their strict screening process for volunteers, which is done in conjunction with the local sheriff’s office.
The Department of Education presentation and Diaz made it clear that legislation is needed and will be coming in the near future to amend SB 7026, and that the Senate committee will consider some or all of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission’s recommendations. One of those recommendations is to arm classroom teachers. FEA’s position remains that only trained law enforcement should be carrying weapons on campus, and we will continue to advocate for that position this coming session.